About Fountain Hills Sister Cities

What Exactly is Fountain Hills Sister Cities?

Fountain Hills Sister Cities (FHSC) is a community-based 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We provide opportunities for the people of our area to develop and participate in international relationships. We are volunteers who reach out to interact, in mutually beneficial ways, with citizens, and leaders, of our Sister Cities. Fountain Hills Sister Cities is member of the nationwide group of Sister Cities International.

“FHSC is proud to build international friendships & goodwill, by promoting youth, cultural, educational, and humanitarian activities with our partner cities”

In this way, FHSC carries on the tradition, and the vision, of the Sister Cities movement. A movement established by its founder, President Dwight Eisenhower, back in 1956.

What is the History of FHSC?

FHSC stemmed from an idea FH Times then-Publisher, Alan Cruikshank, suggested to newly-elected Mayor Jerry Miles in 1996. Cruikshank became familiar with the sister cities concept while president of the Fountain Hills Chamber of Commerce in the 1980s. He proposed a city in Australia he thought would be a good match. However, he learned that a community had to be municipally incorporated to be part of the Sister Cities International program. The town of Fountain Hills became incorporated in 1989, and thus eligible for participation in Sister Cities programs.

After Miles took office in 1996, he called Cruikshank and asked if he would head a Sister Cities committee. Under the auspices of the Civic Association (now the Cultural and Civic Association), a committee was formed.

Despite the committee reaching out to the candidate city in Australia, municipal leaders there would not partner with Fountain Hills. It took another year to search for a backup candidate city to team up with. In the end, Fountain Hills landed a partnership with Kasterlee, Belgium.

A contingent of Fountain Hills residents, including Jerry and Jackie Miles, Vice Mayor Marianne Wiggishoff and her husband Cyril, Bob and Phyllis Horan, and Cruikshank, traveled to Kasterlee to meet with then-Mayor Walter Otten. The letter of intent to form a Sister Cities relationship was signed May 31, 1998. Kasterlee became the first official Sister City in 2000.

That very first city-search exercise, established the mission of Fountain Hills Sister Cities Corporation:

“To provide opportunities for the people of our area to develop and participate in international relationships as volunteers who reach out to interact with citizens, and leaders, of our chosen Sister Cities”.

Since that time, Fountain Hills Sister Cities has added three additional Sister Cities: Dierdorf Germany, Ataco El Salvador and Zamosc Poland. Our very first Sister City, Kasterlee Belgium, has sadly been removed from our partner city list. We parted ways due to an unfortunate mismatch in the two city’s abilities to support the on-going relationship. Subsequently, the FHSC team is actively pursuing a replacement Sister City, and we invite our community to participate with suggestions. Contact Us!

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